Running a small business means leading a team. You have office staff, technicians and other experts directly related to producing your product or service. Hopefully you’ve got a marketing strategy expert as well, in-house or a consultant. But half a team won’t get you leads.
I talk to small business owners every day who are missing one or more experts on their team. Writing, photography and technology experts are especially necessary and the most underused. Here’s why they’re critical and how you can find your experts today.
Real People, Taking Pictures of Real Things
Visual content has been the buzz of Internet marketing for two years or more. Trends in web design solidified around large, dramatic visuals. Notice the difference between 2012 and 2014 in the Microsoft Business homepage.
Two years ago, Microsoft split the difference between the tiled look of their latest operating system and somebody’s need to sprinkle action buttons all over. It aspired to a highly visual layout, but drowned in clutter. The 2014 version cleans out the mess, one CTA (call to action) at a time, each one built on a picture.
This is how Microsoft’s business division communicates today: straightforward copywriting paired with realistic photography.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that the people in Microsoft’s ads aren’t models. Most probably are. That’s ok. Models or not, Microsoft hired a photographer to take pictures of common situations. It might have been cheaper and quicker to buy stock photos. But there’s a remote and robotic quality stock photos can’t avoid. Sure, those guys in the kitchen are posed. But I believe them, don’t you?
Look for photographers who take professional portraits and headshots to start with. They’ll at least get you looking good on LinkedIn and they’ll have connections to other artists if they can’t meet your other needs. If you know someone in video production, they can help too.
Only a photographer working closely with your business can capture authentic, professional looking images of your products and services in action. Anything else is a placeholder and visitors can tell.
Experienced, Trusted Technology Experts
When your personal or company car needs work, do you pop the hood and stretch some duct tape over the engine like a latter day Red Green? Hope not.
For most of us, cars aren’t DIY projects. The same is true about your website and email, two systems that often share resources. Yet, care of these critical business tools is often ignored. I’ve seen many businesses forced to delay a new website to get their email system in order or upgrade it to handle marketing needs.
It’s difficult to predict how changes in marketing will affect your technology needs. And delays just happen sometimes. But you can make sure you take care of maintenance and upgrades quickly. Hire an IT expert, either in-house or outsource to a local company. They’ll become an expert in your unique business goals and the technology that supports your efforts to exceed them. When your needs change, upgrades will be a phone call away.
You’ll want to find a resource that can take both your help desk calls, help you make smart choices with expert technology consulting and maintain all of your tech. The best way to find your IT expert is to ask your friends. Ask at your industry association meeting, ask your marketing company, even ask your cousin. Just don’t have your cousin do your computers unless they actually work for an IT support company.
Fast, Accurate Communicators Who Aren’t You
Last, but not least, you need to find your writer. Someone who knows your business and understands your customers. Like a business biographer, they craft a consistent story, tone and voice to make your marketing materials stand out. And when you need to move fast, they assemble useful, shareable words faster than you because it’s their job. You need to find someone you can pay to write for you.
The existence of the Internet requires your business to publish an enormous number of words online. The surface level of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest sharing is one thing, but those channels require something to share in the first place. You’ll definitely need pictures. And you’ll want pages on your own website to share. Writers make those pages happen. If you don’t have something of your own to share online, then you have to share something by somebody else, somewhere. That won’t provide the same value to your business. You might even give sales away. I know it’s a lot, but a writer can help you manage the time and resources you spend on written content.
You need visuals, killer copywriting and a strong tech foundation. Who’s handling those for your now? Effective small business marketing will only demand more skills in these areas as technology develops. Use your network to find the right experts for your business, search the Internet if necessary.
Have your experts lined up and a game plan laid out? Now it’s time to consider how you’ll budget your marketing expenses. Check out our FREE marketing budget guide today: